Billie Vacation was one of the most popular jazz music vocalists in America. Her genuine name was Eleanora Fagan. Like most lives of musicians, she had a really bad time growing up which damaged her profession. Her life is written about in the autobiography Woman Sings The Blues, but there are lots of things in there that are not actually legitimate. Her name is from an actress, Billie Dove and her dad Clarence Vacation.
Billie grew up in the poorest area of Baltimore. Her moms and dads wed when she was 3 years of ages, however it did not last. They divorced and she was raised by her mom and different loved ones. She had actually been raped when she was eleven years of ages, and avoided school a lot, so she was positioned in The House of the Great Shepherd in 1925. The House of the Great Shepherd was a reform school for Catholics. A friend of the family assisted her from there a few years later on. She then went to New York to live with her mother. A year later on, her mom discovered a next-door neighbor was raping Billie, the guy invested three months in prison.
Things appeared to go from bad to even worse. Billie had actually stated a brothel declared her where she worked as a prostitute, and then was in prison for awhile. She began singing for suggestions in the Harlem night clubs in the 1930’s. It was stated when she had not a penny to her name and will be forced out, she sang “Trave’lin All Alone” at a club and had the audience weeping. She kept singing for tips until she wound up at a popular jazz club called Pod’s and Jerry’s in Harlem. A lot of her carrying out can not be discovered, but it is said she was working at Monette’s, another club in 1933 when John Hammond, a skill scout found her.
John got her to tape-record with Benny Goodman that exact same year. She sang in a group with Teddy Wilson, a pianist. Their debut was the song “Miss Brown You”, and “Exactly what A Little Moonlight Can Do”, maked her a popular jazz singer. The year following that, she began taping under her own name. A few of the musicians who she carried out with her the best, such as Lester young, a tenor sax gamer. Lester was a boarder in her mother’s residence, so they were great friends. He was the one who gave her the nickname Woman Day. She gave him the nickname Prez. She likewise carried out with Artie Shaw and Count Basie.
When Billie was on the Columbia label, someone provided her the tune “Unusual Fruit” about lynching. She sang the song at a club in 1939, afraid of some kind of retaliation. Later, Billie said that it resembled the death of her daddy, and that is part of the reason why she performed it. She was upset that a lot of people didn’t understand the song. She stated,” They’ll ask me to sing that sexy song about the people swinging.” Columbia didn’t record it, however Commodore Records did. She sang that song for twenty years.
She began doing drugs in the 1940’s, married Jimmy Monroe, a trombonist in 1941. At the very same time, she was with her pusher Joe Individual coping with him common law. She separated her hubby in 1947, and left from her pusher, but invested eight months in a reformatory for women. Because her Cabaret Card was taken, she couldn’t carry out in clubs in New york city City for the last twelve years of her life, except when at the Ebony Club with approval.
She advanced with substance abuse, and getting into the worst relationships with men.
She passed away in 1959 from cirrhosis of the liver. She was just 44 years of ages. All she had was seventy cents in the bank, and a $750 tabloid cost. A film Girl Sings The Blues was done about her life starring Diana Ross. It had not been the real story however it gave Diana a Finest Starlet election. Billie has been an inspiration for many individuals and is still one of the very best jazz music singers today.
Brother Louie at 42nd Avenue Station